(Originally published in BizBash Miami/South Florida Fall 2010 issue followed by the corresponding web site on 10.06.10)Joel Carlough and Lauren Fine of decor and audiovisual company Sound, Fabric, and Light Productions are both business and life partners. The couple met in 2002 while working at Boca by Design, where Carlough focused on event logistics and setup, and Fine booked and designed events at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, which uses the firm as its in-house production company. During Carlough’s five-month tenure, the two fell in love and eventually had two sons.
After 11 years handling logistics, lighting design and installation, and on-site coordination for previous employers such as Ocean Reef Resort and Club in Key Largo, Carlough wanted to branch out on his own. “Over time throughout the industry, you always have conversations with coworkers about what it would take to launch a company, and having that conversation planted a seed,” he says. “The more I thought about it, it became clear that we could actually make this happen.” With the support of Fine, who was a stay-at-home mother at the time, they founded SFL in October 2009, specializing in exactly what the name implies: sound, fabric draping, and advanced lighting technologies.
Carlough’s specialty is logistics and lighting. Fine, who began her career as an interior designer, serves as managing partner and marketing manager, and assists Carlough and the company sales associate with event design.
“Some days [working and living together] is tough, but it’s very helpful that Joel has a very easygoing personality and never makes things more difficult than they need to be,” says Fine.
Since its inception, SFL has garnered big-name corporate clients including AT&T and the N.F.L. “Anytime you give a chance to a start-up company, you are taking a risk, no matter how well you know the person [behind it], and they absolutely came through,” says Patrick Gallagher, sales associate at So Cool Events, which hired SFL to provide theatrical, ambient, spot, and uplighting for multiple events for the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl coaches, players, and their families.
In March, SFL created a multicolored changing lighting scheme accompanied by industrial-style trusses and fabric sails for an AT&T product showcase for 800 people at the Fontainebleau hotel. “They have a great willingness to work with you from the beginning standpoint of working with budgets and coming up with a creative concept to making it all work,” says Santosh Nair, managing partner of SNR Meetings and Events, which hired SFL for the event. “With decor it’s hard to translate what your vision is for the space [to a subcontractor], and that experience became a lot easier by working with them.”